Note: If you’re a visual person and prefer to watch this tutorial as a video instead, click here.
92% of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision. 92%.
Think back to the last time you were looking for a product or service; did you check out their reviews first? Whether we’re talking about Google, Facebook, Amazon or just about any other website out there reviews are important. If you’re not capturing reviews from your customers you may be missing out.
One-click Google Reviews
A lot of businesses simply send customers a link to their Google Brand page along with a friendly message inviting the customer to leave a review. I don’t like this approach because you’re asking the customer to do a lot of steps, including following the link, finding the review button somewhere on the page (it’s moved a few times) and then finally writing a review, all for your benefit.
People are busy.
The easier you make it for people to leave you an outstanding review, the more outstanding reviews you’ll get. That’s why I was determined to make it easy as possible for people to leave Google reviews.
Here is a quick step-by-step to get your own “One-click Google reviews” link you can send to your customers and start raking in the Google reviews. Make sure you’re logged into Google with your own Google account. If you’re not logged in yet, this strategy won’t work (it will prompt you later on to
Make sure you’re logged into Google with your own Google account. If you’re not logged in yet, this strategy won’t work (it will prompt you later on to login).
Start off by doing a Google search for your business. As an example, I’ll do a search for my own company using the following search term: “Green Tree Media Toledo, OH“, so you can follow along.
Important Note: Be sure to include your city and state in the search to make sure Google will always find the right business. When I originally created this link, I used only the search term “Green Tree Media” which worked fine for me, however, when out-of-state clients followed my link, they received an error because Google tried to return results for Green Tree Media near them.
If you have a physical brick-and-mortar location, chances are Google will already have a “Knowledge Card” created for your business. A “Knowledge Card” is the block that will sometimes show up on the right side of the search results. In the image below, it’s the section that contains pertinent information about Green Tree Media.
If you don’t have one for your business yet, head over to Google My Business and create one.
Towards the bottom of the card, you’ll see a section for reviews. You may or may not already have some reviews from customers. If you don’t have any reviews yet, don’t worry – you don’t need any existing reviews for this strategy to work.
Click on the button that says “Write a Review.” (see the image below).
After clicking the “Write a Review” button, you’ll be presented with a screen overlay and a popup box that allows you to provide a star rating for your review and a text box where you can write your actual review. (see below).
At this point, you may be saying “Wait a minute, Alex. This review looks like it’s coming from ME because I’m logged in, I want OTHER people to leave me reviews!”
Don’t worry, all we want is the URL that’s in the address bar right now. With the overlay and popup box still displayed, copy the current URL in the address bar.
That’s it! …Mostly
You can share this URL with people and when they follow it, they should arrive on a Google search page and the review box will pop up automatically, leaving them free to begin writing their awesome review of your business.
To test it, open a new tab in your browser of choice and paste the URL you copied into the address bar.
This URL is super long and kind of scary thanks to all of the extra variables and parameters in it. If someone sent me an email with a link that long I probably wouldn’t click it for fear that it would download a virus or take me to some unscrupulous website.
Luckily, there are a few ways we can overcome this.
Option 1: Use a 3rd Party URL shortener
We could plug that long, daunting URL into a URL shortner. Two popular options are:
- Google’s URL shortner (https://goo.gl/)
- Bitly (https://bitly.com/)
Both of these services will provide a much shorter, much cleaner link share with your customers and clients.
Option 2: Use your own website to redirect to your reviews
While the first option is the quickest, the second option is my preferred method because it’s future-proof. If (when) Google changes how it works for reviews, the link you generate today may cease to work properly. Anyone you’ve sent the link to will then have a dead link.
To combat this and make sure the link we’re sharing with people always works, you’ll want to create a URL on your own domain to share and THAT link will redirect to where ever it needs to go for Google Reviews, which you can update as needed.
If that sounds complicated, don’t worry, I’ll walk you through everything.
If you’re using WordPress
If you’re using WordPress for your website, you can simply download a URL plugin like Pretty Link Lite (https://wordpress.org/plugins/pretty-link/ – it’s free with a premium option available and it’s what I use here at Green Tree Media) and create a fake URL. If using this option, be sure to check the box that says ‘Nofollow’ this Link under SEO options.
For example, I’ve created greentreemediallc.com/review which simply redirects to https://www.google.com/search?q=Green+Tree+Media+Toledo%2C+OH&oq=Green+Tree+Media+Toledo%2C+OH&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x883c7c73da32a7ab:0x854839b0ff8de2af,3. You’ll notice both links take you to the same place.
Which would you rather feel more comfortable being asked to click on in an email?
If you’re not using WordPress
If you’re not using WordPress you’ll need to edit your .htaccess file to do the job so you may want to hire a developer to do this part.
Since this blog is aimed at helping the average, everyday website owner/manager, I want to keep things as straightforward and non-confusing as possible, so I won’t go into code but I will provide an exact script you can send to your developer so that they understand exactly what you need them to do:
Good afternoon, [developer name].
I was wondering if you could help me out with something I want to accomplish on my website. I’d like to know if you could set up a 301 Redirect that would redirect visitors from example.com/review to [super long ugly Google link you copied from step 2].
Let me know when you get a minute and thanks so much for your time!
Obviously, edit this to match your normal conversation-style and substitute the bits in brackets with the correct information.
Now that you have your new awesome Google Review link that allows people leave you reviews with a single click, start sharing it!
Send an email out to existing customers or clients and ask if they’d be willing to take 30 seconds to leave you a review. You’d be surprised what you can get if you just ask.
If you’ve found success with this method or maybe you use an entirely different method, leave a comment in the comments section, I’d love to hear about it!